Recycled Glass Worktops – Pros, Cons & Advice
Did you spot a sparkly worktop in your neighbour’s new kitchen and wonder what it was? They may have recycled glass worktops.
Recycled glass worktops are eco-conscious and economical, and set the stage for unique decor in any home.
In this post, I’ll explain what recycled glass worktops are, their pros and cons as well as answer some frequently asked questions about them.
Let’s get into it!
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What Are Recycled Glass Worktops?
Recycled glass worktops use post-consumer glass, polymers, resins, and other materials to create a unique, durable, and contemporary option for your kitchen. They may also be referred to as crushed glass worktops.
They often include up to 85% recycled glass (DIAMIK offer 100% recycled glass options), making this an eco-friendly choice. Better yet, when it is time to retire the worktop, it can be recycled again
The most common types of glass used for these worktops are windscreen, automotive, window, and post-consumer bottle glass.
How Are Recycled Glass Worktops Made?
The glass particles are mixed with polymers, binders, and other kinds of granules. Typically resin or cement binders. A high-pressure plate pushes it into a form. Then it is baked to create a tough worktop ready to last for years to come.
The final product is available in a complete rainbow of colours from neutral beige to bright red, blue, green, or even purple. The crushed glass gives it a flecked appearance often associated with traditional worktop finishes.
Some popular brands available throughout the United Kingdom include Apollo Recycled Glass and DIAMIK Glass. You can often find them on display at your local DIY store, kitchen design centres, and building supply shops.
The glass is manufactured in large slabs averaging 3000mm long by 1500mm deep. Your worktop installer takes precise measurements of your kitchen base cabinets.
At the fabrication shop, a robotic saw cuts the glass into appropriate pieces for installation.
Most kitchens use two or three pieces to create the usual L-shaped worktop.
You can order your recycled glass worktop in 20mm to 40mm depths. The thicker the worktop, the less likely it is to crack over its lifetime.
For thicker surfaces, the edge is created by glueing a strip of the worktop to the front of the surface for a crisp presentation. Often you do not have the option of adding a shaped or rounded edge.
How Much Do Recycled Glass Worktops Cost?
The cost of recycled glass worktops can vary significantly based on several factors including the quality of the materials, the complexity of the design, the colour or type of glass used, and regional pricing differences.
- Price Range: Prices can range from about £350 to £800 per square metre ($40 to $120 per square foot) in its raw slab form.
- Factors Influencing Cost: Higher quality materials will cost more. The type of glass and the binder (resin or cement-based) used can affect the price.
Custom colours or unique designs can increase the cost. Standard options are usually more affordable. Thicker and larger slabs will be more expensive.
- Installation Costs: Don’t forget to factor in installation costs, which can vary depending on your location and the specific requirements of your project. These costs can add significantly to the overall price.
The cost of installation can vary depending on the complexity of your project. Custom shapes, sizes, or additional features like integrated sinks can increase installation costs.
- Comparison with Other Materials: While recycled glass worktops can be more expensive than some common materials like laminate, they are often less expensive than high-end options like marble.
Advantages of Recycled Glass Worktops
- Eco-Friendly Choice: Utilizes up to 85% post-consumer recycled materials. Contributes to waste reduction and environmental sustainability.
- Cost-Effective: Generally more affordable than natural stone or high-end quartz. Low maintenance leads to long-term savings.
- Aesthetically Diverse: Available in a wide range of colours, from sparkling whites to bold blues, greens, and reds. Unique, eye-catching appearance with a distinct reflective quality.
- Low Maintenance: Non-porous surface resists stains and spills. Does not require regular sealing like natural stone.
- Durable: Good resistance to heat and scratches, suitable for busy kitchen environments. Protective measures like using trivets are still recommended for hot items.
- Seamless Design: Can have colour-matched seams for a seamless and cohesive appearance.
- Repairable: Most damage, such as chips and scratches, can be repaired, extending the lifespan of the worktops.
Disadvantages of Recycled Glass Worktops
- Higher Cost Compared to Laminate: Recycled glass worktops are significantly more expensive than laminate options, making them less budget-friendly for some homeowners.
- Risk of Cracks and Chips: The edges of these worktops can be susceptible to cracking and chipping, which requires careful use and maintenance.
- Specific Aesthetic Appeal: Their unique appearance might not suit everyone’s taste or home decor style, potentially limiting their universal appeal.
- Need for Professional Installation: Due to the complexity and precision required, professional installation is highly recommended, which adds to the overall cost and planning.
- Limited Edge Design Choices: Recycled glass worktops often come with fewer edge design options compared to materials like granite or quartz, which might limit customization possibilities.
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Are recycled glass worktops durable?
Yes, recycled glass worktops will last many, many years as long as they are properly maintained. They keep a like-new appearance for years and are comparable in performance to quartz or other solid surface materials.
Are recycled glass worktops heat-resistant?
Yes, to a point. Since the worktop undergoes a lengthy baking process during production, you can place a hot pot on its surface without cracking or discolouration.
However, a rapid temperature change can cause thermal shock and crack the surface, as with many stone surfaces. So it is wise to use a hot pad or trivet for daily use.
Are recycled glass worktops scratch-resistant?
The tough polymer and resin finish makes recycled glass worktops resistant to surface scratches.
It won’t etch or scratch if you drop a knife or other sharp object on the surface. However, you will want to use a cutting board daily.
Are recycled glass worktops stain-resistant?
Unlike stone worktops, recycled glass worktops are non-porous. This means that they will not stain as wine and tomato sauce cannot be absorbed into the surface. It won’t require any kind of sealant, either.
Simply wipe up spills using your washing-up soap and a soft cloth.
Do recycled glass worktops crack easily?
It is possible to crack a recycled glass worktop, but it is just as hard to damage as a quartz or stone worktop. The most common cracks happen after a heavy object is dropped on its surface, especially if it’s near the edge. Daily use will not crack it.
If you do end up with a crack, it can be repaired using a mix of polymers and resins that match its colour. With care, the repair will be nearly invisible and extend the life of the worktop.
There you have it! Everything you need to know about recycled glass worktops.
While they may not be to everyone’s taste and style, they can be a great option if you’re looking for something a little bit more unique with some eco-credentials.
They are also a great choice if you’re looking for something similar to quartz or an acrylic countertop but a little more budget-friendly.
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.